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Talking to Your Doctor About Metabolic Syndrome

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don’t forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Metabolic Syndrome

  • What is metabolic syndrome?
  • Am I at risk of developing metabolic syndrome?
  • What should I do to avoid developing metabolic syndrome?
  • Are there any medicines to take to prevent or to treat metabolic syndrome?
  • What are the complications of metabolic syndrome?
  • What are the risk factors of metabolic syndrome?
  • Are there symptoms of metabolic syndrome?
  • How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?
  • Is there any genetic influence which I should know about?
  • Are my children at risk of metabolic syndrome? How is the diagnosis made?

About Obesity and Weight Loss

  • What is my weight? Am I considered overweight or obese?
  • Is my weight right for my height?
  • What should my target weight be?
  • What is my body mass index (BMI)? What does it mean to my health?
  • Are there different criteria to define obesity depending on my ethnic background?
  • What is my waist size? Is the measurement significant to my health?
  • What are the health risks associated with being overweight?
  • How can I lose weight?
  • Are there any weight loss programs you would recommend?
  • Are there any medicines I can take that would help me lose weight?
  • Are there any support groups you could recommend to help me lose weight?
  • Do you recommend that I see a specialist, such as an endocrinologist, to rule out any medical conditions that could be responsible for my excess weight?
  • How often should I check my weight?
  • What if I cannot lose all the weight I need to lose?

About Heart Disease

  • What is heart disease?
  • How will having heart disease affect me?
  • Can this condition be reversed or will it affect me for the rest of my life?
  • Are there any restrictions on my activities if I have heart disease?
  • How can I tell if the disease worsens?
  • Are there any medicines I can take to improve my condition?
  • What lifestyle changes should I make?
  • What are the warning signs for heart disease?

About Diabetes

  • What is diabetes?
  • How will having diabetes affect me? Why is it important for me to control it?
  • Will I have diabetes forever?
  • Will I need to take insulin? Will I have to give myself shots?
  • How often do I need to test my blood for sugar levels?
  • Are there any medicines I can take to treat or prevent diabetes?
  • What are the side effects of these medicines?
  • What are the warning signs for diabetes?
  • Which is more important in terms of predicting complications later on—the before meal blood sugar or the after meal blood sugar?
  • What is prediabetes?

About Blood Pressure

  • What is my blood pressure?
  • What is an optimal blood pressure for me?
  • What is white coat hypertension?
  • What is high blood pressure?
  • How will having high blood pressure affect me?
  • What can I do to lower my blood pressure?
  • Are there any medicines I can take to lower my blood pressure?
  • What are the side effects of these medicines?
  • How often should I have my blood pressure checked?
  • How does the salt in my diet affect my blood pressure?
  • What are the warning signs for high blood pressure?

About Cholesterol

  • What is my cholesterol profile?
  • Can you explain what the numbers from my cholesterol profile mean?
  • What are the complications of unhealthy levels of cholesterol?
  • How can I lower my cholesterol?
  • Are there any medicines that I can take to lower my cholesterol?
  • What are the side effects of these medicines?
  • Will I have to take these medicines for the rest of my life?
  • What can I do, other than taking medicines, to lower my cholesterol?
  • How often should I have my cholesterol levels checked?

About Stroke Prevention

  • What is a stroke?
  • Am I at risk for having a stroke?
  • What are the warning signs for stroke?

About Lifestyle Changes

Alcohol

  • How much should I drink?
  • Does it matter if I drink beer or hard liquor?
  • Is red wine beneficial for me? If so, how much could I drink a week?

Smoking

  • How can I quit?
  • Do I have to quit cold turkey?
  • Are there any programs you would recommend?
  • Are there any medicines I could take to help me quit smoking?
  • How long do the effects of my cigarette smoking affect my body after I quit?
  • Would cutting back on smoking (but not quitting) help?
  • Will I gain weight if I stop smoking?

Physical Activity

  • Is it safe for me to exercise?
  • How often should I exercise? How long do you recommend I exercise?
  • Is there any type of exercise you would recommend for me?
  • Are there any types of physical activity that I should avoid?
  • Do you recommend that I work with a physical trainer to improve my physical activity?

Healthy Eating Habits

  • Do you have any information about improving my eating habits?
  • What type of foods should I avoid?
  • What type of foods should I try to incorporate into my diet?
  • Do you recommend that I meet with a specialist, such as a dietician, to improve my diet?
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to cook my food?
  • How do I read food labels?
  • Should I avoid soda?
REFERENCES:

Doctor appointments: Questions to ask your doctor. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/ReachOut/CommunicatingwithHealthcareProfessionals/Communicating-with-Healthcare-Professionals_UCM_301843_Article.jsp#.V1bhX02FMdU. Accessed August 27, 2018.

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed August 27, 2018.

Metabolic syndrome in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113812/Metabolic-syndrome-in-adults. Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD  Last Updated: 8/27/2018